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Apr. 1st, 2007 | 11:01 pm

Enough about Ron's post as such. My point about stories, though...

Start here with this link and read several pages of this stuff. This is quite raw data, direct from the Kwakiutl when they still existed in a fairly solid way. A word of advice: don't allegorize -- this material is a great deal more difficult to interpret than it looks, and as you'll see, that's saying something.

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death_by_monkey

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from: death_by_monkey
date: Apr. 20th, 2007 03:43 am (UTC)
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Cool - I'm glad to hear that others are pondering on this issue, too.

I agree with the solutions you've posited here, though neither are really optimal. Most RPG players (unfortunately, in this case) are curious - continually looking for the clues that will lead their characters to success and wealth. Consequently, if you have them running around in a world where elves are doing things that are just incomprehensible to them, you'll have the players constructing conspiracy theories about something as mundane as elven dental hygiene. These types of situations will, at best, strain their relations with the elves, and at worse, get them killed.

And as you also pointed out, the other solution (and the solution to the above situation) of having the other "races" interacted such that there's enough homogeneity of culture that everyone can understand each other (which somehow gets me thinking about how all the aliens in Star Trek just had funny ears or foreheads and all spoke English).

I've started giving some thought, though, to a world where religions cross "racial" lines - you don't have human gods and elven gods and dwarven gods - you have a religion that is largely followed by the population of a geographic area, regardless of their "race".

Also, I rediscovered one of the series of books that very nicely deals with elves, dwarves, and particularly gnomes as rather alien creatures. It turns out I was remembering Elizabeth Moon's "Deed of Paksenarrion" trilogy. The wiki entry for Elizabeth Moon points out the similarities between the book and the AD&D adventure The Temple of Elemental Evil. While I hadn't picked up on this the first time I read the book, as I re-read it in this new context, some of the similarities were nearly laughably glaring. It's still a fun read, though, and I do like the way she's re-imagined some of the basic AD&D concepts.

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